Internal documents exposed publicly Friday have pulled back the curtain on the Canadian oil industry's war against carbon-curbing regulations in a bid to protect its profit margin over the planet.
Emails between the Canadian federal government and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)—released through provincial freedom of information laws and publicly posted by Greenpeace Canada researcher Keith Stewart—reveal that last spring the oil industry successfully delayed a proposed carbon tax increase of $40 per ton in the province of Alberta by lobbying the Canadian federal government.
“The industry in these documents is clearly saying delay, delay, delay and then do as little as possible,” Stewart said Friday in an interview with the Globe and Mail. “And the federal government seems to be taking that as marching orders.”
In the exposed emails, CAPP officials vigorously oppose "costly new burdens on the industry and the economy." Numbered among their concerns is that the profit margin of the tar sands industry could be harmed.
They insist the proposed tax will hurt their bottom-line without helping their public image. "The objection to the oil sands is ideological... if the 40/40 guidelines were enacted, oil sands opponents would claim that they too were insufficient."
"Will higher stringency requirements impact production and revenue?" reads the document. "Very likely."
CAPP urges the government to forestall any immediate action, insisting, "more communication, public awareness campaign of current policies, regulations, and environmental issues is required."
The industry's efforts appear to have been successful so far at stalling a carbon tax increase. Large carbon emitters currently pay $15 for every ton of carbon yet are reimbursed large portions of these penalties through provincial tax write-off laws.
Alberta has been slammed for its relatively weak laws and high levels of emissions, thanks in part to its dirty tar sands industry.